Venice and gondolas go together like pasta and meatballs, pepperoni and pizza, monkeys and bananas. You get the idea. You can’t really have one without the other and these fascinating boats are irresistible. It is estimated that in the 19th century there were more than 10,000 of these flat bottomed boats plying the canals of Venice. Today there are about 500 and most of these are used to haul tourists like Kongo around.
With all deference to Shakespeare, this monkey is not the Merchant of Venice. The little simian is not a money lender and has no ships at sea carrying expensive cargos soon to kiss the bottom of the ocean. Instead, the monkey is set on keeping Mrs. Kongo from meeting any of the real merchants of Venice who peddle expensive shoes, hand bags, and fashionable clothes. The monkey’s plan to keep Mrs. Kongo away from the real merchants is to keep her walking along the canals and through the narrow streets and that’s exactly what he did yesterday on his second day in Italy.